It’s honestly embarrassing how long I’ve owned this bar cart and done nothing with it. When we were renting a house along with Cody’s cousin and her boyfriend, it sat in the dining room with whatever decor items were left over. Then when we bought our house, everyone asked if I was sure I wanted to move with it (because let’s be honest it was an eyesore) but I said yes, I wanted to paint it. That was 1.5 years ago and here we are. I am finally painting it. I think the main motivation is that now that I’m working from home, it’s next to me in the dining room where I spend at least 9 hours a day. So thank you COVID for this motivation. Below is a picture of how it looked!
Now I can’t provide a link to purchase this cart (because I think it came from an old hunting cabin) but I wanted to share this project in case you wanted to recreate it for yourself. You could do this on really any piece of yellow/orange colored wood furniture.
Before I get into the project, if you’re more visual, you can check out my Instagram highlight “Bar Cart” for videos of the project.
I wanted to do a dual colored cart with the top being driftwood/raw wood top and the remainder of the cart being a color. The absolute easiest way to paint wood is with chalk paint. There’s no stripping, sanding, or really any prep required. I have heard great things about Annie Sloan chalk paint’s colors and thought that would be easier than trying to tint a quart from Lowes so I found an Annie Sloan retailer not too far from my house called WonderFaux Home. I stopped over there on my lunch break and fell in love with “Oxford Navy.” The deep navy would provide a beautiful contrast to the driftwood and would make it really stand out. I was a little surprised by the price but good paint always costs money. I bought the smallest container they had (I’m guessing around 4-5 ounces) in size and hoped I would have enough.
How to Bleach Orangey Wood:
I’ve now refinished 3 table tops with the same driftwood method. Because of the different types of wood in each of the tables, each has turned out slightly differently but I love them all. I start by stripping the wood by applying a generous layer of Citristrip with a cheap chip brush. I let it sit on there for about an hour and a half then come back with a scraper to remove it. Call me crazy but there’s something soothing about scraping off all of the orange finish! Haha Now when doing an entire table (legs and all) I would use a wire brush to remove the stripper along the curves but this bar cart was super simple because I was only doing the very top.
Next, I use a wet rag to wipe everything down and get the remainder of the stripper off. I next pour a little clorox bleach into a tub and dip the rag into the bleach mixture. I’ve tried with off brand bleach and it doesn’t have the same affect. Just buy the small container of pure clorox household bleach and it will do the trick. Wipe down the entire thing with a generous amount of bleach. I generally let this soak overnight, or until dry.
This next stop is optional- sanding. I’ve sanded on one table and haven’t on others. If you have rough pieces, or scratches in your table top, I would suggest sanding. Or if you have a stubborn stain, I would sand. But if you don’t have these things, skip it! I used an orbital sander with 220 grit and it took just 10 minutes to do the entire thing.
Next I pour a little bit of white wash pickling into a tub with 1 part white pickling and 2 parts water. I dip a rag into this mixture and then wipe it over the wood, letting the white sit into the grooves of the wood. I let this sit for about an hour then possibly repeat (if more white is desired) or leave as it.
Let the wood dry completely after the white pickling (about a day) and then I seal it twice using this matte top coat while allowing two hours in between each coat to dry. to achieve the raw/driftwood look, you must use a matte top coat or you will gloss it over and give the wood a much more finished look.
The only prep needed for chalk paint is a clean surface. I wiped the cart and every crevice down with a wet rag a few times until I felt all the dust particles were gone. To make the most out of my tiny container of chalk paint, I poured it into a tub and mixed in water to water it down. I honestly added a ton of water, probably about 50% because I needed the tiny container to last me the entire project. I bought a triangle brush for this project so I could get in between all of the wood slats on the shelves. I’ve always wanted to try one of the chalk paint brushes but I could never pull the trigger on a $20 paint brush… one day I’ll give it a try.
The chalk paint dries fairly quickly so I was able to do two coats pretty quickly. I BARELY had enough paint to finish the cart and now that it’s in a room of windows, I see some spots that could use just a little thicker layer of paint, but the average person not looking for it wouldn’t see it.
Office Chair Wheels:
If you follow along on my instagram you probably saw my caster wheel fail. I found some beautiful gold caster wheels on Amazon and was so surprised when all 4 of them were smaller than the size of my hand. Not to self to pay attention to size description on Amazon. Also note to self to return those before it’s too late. Okay so next up I ordered these office chair wheels. I struggled to find gold caster wheels for a reasonable price so when I found the gold office chair wheels, I thought I’d give it a try. Since its for an office chair, they came in a pack of 5. I surprisingly really like the way these look! It adds a hint of modern to this traditional styled cart.
Amazon Wine Glass Rack:
I also ordered this two pack of wine glass racks on Amazon and had Cody screw them into the top right shelf. Each of the racks hold 3 glasses so it fits our 6 pack of wine glasses well. Looking back, I didn’t need to order gold or any color in particular because of the lip of the bar, this isn’t even seen.
I stacked two of the old encyclopedias I have with a faux fiddle leaf plant (similar linked here) on top to the left of the hanging glasses. For the table top I got this round gold tray to host the liquor bottles, and then this marble paddle serving tray for slicing garnishes. The bottom shelf is fairly short but can host coke cans and small bottles, or stacked bottles long ways.
Overall I’m so happy how this little project turned out! If you do your own driftwood finish using this method please tag me! I’d love to see!